Carey: City taxes, fees need discussion

Soldotna is the only place I have ever called home since my family arrived here in 1961 and I was enrolled as a Soldotna Elementary 4th Grader. I believe in God and America and that I should give back to improve my community and actively participate in the civic process.

I am running for this one-year seat because I believe there needs to be a most serious and open discussion regarding city taxes, fees, and the regulations required for residents, businesses and non-profit organizations that want to call Soldotna their home.

My church is currently building a Hall attached to the church so that the congregation and visitors do not have to walk outside in the rain, ice and snow for events such as funerals, weddings, and receptions. To get permission to build the Hall, we had to pay a $7000 building fee when we submitted the Architect’s plans with an Engineering stamp. What services did that $7000 provide? At $20 an hour, that is 350 hours of work or service. The City needs to explain their building permit fees and the City Council needs to be open to a public discussion about fees and taxes.

I am a volunteer board member for Bishop’s Attic that provides low cost clothes and household goods for low-income residents and discount shoppers. All materials are donated and all proceeds go to our five employees and contributions to other community groups.

To move into a vacant building with safer parking and protection from vandalism, we had to pay over $35,000 to be allowed to open in an existing business location. We were required by the City to have the previous business’s sign removed and pay hundreds of dollars in fees for the two new signs we wanted to put up. The fees were to “insure that the new signs were not too high or too large”. What service did we get for these fees?

The most recent audited budget for Soldotna is for Fiscal Year 2012 when the City spent $8,401,309. FY 2012 began with a Fund Balance (Surplus) of $19,159,289. In this year’s Council approved budget, even after an increase of +21.9% in spending, the Fund Balance (Surplus) grows to $19,301,538 or about $4,825 for every Soldotna resident.

I am running because there needs to be a real and comprehensive discussion regarding taxes, fees and regulations with the City Council. The discussion should include reducing city taxes on gasoline and retail items during the winter. More people and businesses would make Soldotna their home if the fees and regulations were less and more people would shop in Soldotna if taxes were lower.

I know all five candidates running for the three Soldotna City Council seats. All five are good and caring individuals. Soldotna residents will be well served by whomever the voters choose. If you agree with the need for discussion and lower taxes, PLEASE, VOTE CAREY!

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